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James Garcia

James Garcia

Assistant Professor, Psychology

Office: (909) 448-4147
Hoover Building / La Verne HB 209

Assistant Professor of Psychology; received his Ph.D. in Clinical Health Psychology from the University of North Texas in 2017. Dr. García completed his pre-doctoral clinical internship at the Southern Arizona VA Health Care System and a Postdoctoral Fellowship in Clinical Health/Rehabilitation Neuropsychology at Casa Colina Hospital and Centers for Healthcare. He has published work in bio-behavioral and psychosocial factors in cardiovascular diseases and health disparities. Currently, Dr. García is centering his research interests on the health and health disparities of LGBT People of Color (PoC). Dr. García is designated core doctoral faculty, but he also teaches courses in the undergraduate Psychology program.



As a scientist, I am interested in bio-behavioral, psychosocial, and healthcare factors involved in racial/ethnic and LGBT health and health disparities, with a focus on cardiovascular diseases (including stroke). I use experimental studies and hospital-based data to examine these factors. To date, I direct a cardiovascular health and health disparities research lab (named the Psychophysiology and Social Interactions [PSI] Laboratory) and gained access to medical rehabilitation outcome data from Casa Colina Hospital. Furthermore, I contribute to the training of diverse graduate students in the psychology graduate training pipeline.

My research program specifically focuses on: 1) racial/ethnic cardiovascular health and health disparities, 2) racial/ethnic disparities in physical medicine and rehabilitation outcomes, 3) intersectional (i.e., racial/ethnic LGBT) health and health disparities.

Current Research Projects

  • Title: Intersectionality and Health of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender People of Color (LGBT PoC)
    • Status: Four Poster Presentations accepted to the Society for Behavioral Medicine 2021 Virtual Conference.
  • Title: Stroke and Traumatic Brain Injury in Communities of Color (STICC) study: Racial/ethnic Differences in Inpatient Medical Rehabilitation Outcomes (from Casa Colina Hospital data)
    • Status: Stroke manuscript published; TBI manuscript under review.
  • Title: Getting PrEPared: Knowledge, Attitudes and Correlates of PrEP in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) People of Color
    • Status: Abstract accepted to American Public Health Association (APHA) 2019
  • Title: Not rubber or glue: Online sexual racism and the health of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender People of Color (LGBT PoC).
    • Status: Poster accepted to the Society for Behavioral Medicine 2021 Virtual Conference.
  • Title: From the Air and to the Heart: Social Interactions and Cardiovascular Responses in LGBT People of Color
    • Status: Data collection on pause due to COVID-19; Awarded La Verne Academy Research Grant for 2021.
  • Title: Taking it to heart: Social interactions and Cardiovascular Responses in Latino College Students
    • Status: Completed; paper published.

Dissertation students

  • Elmer Guardado, Graduate (Psy.D.), Chair
    • Topic: “The relationship of ethnicity, gender, and sports type on level of trait mindfulness in student athletes”
  • Jonathan Dougherty, Graduate (Psy.D.), Chair
    • Topic: “Fall seven times, stand up eight: Factors that predict functional improvement in physical rehabilitation settings”
  • Caitlyn Shaw, Graduate (Psy.D.), Chair
    • Topic: “Sleep as a resilience factor in stroke patients”
  • Matthew Alcala, Graduate (Psy.D.), Chair
    • Topic: “Minority stress and substance abuse among LGBT People of Color”
  • Giselle Gomez, Graduate (Psy.D.), Chair
    • Topic: “Spanish language competencies in mental health providers”
  • Samantha LaMartine, Graduate (Psy.D.), 2nd committee member
    • Topic: “Violence, victimization, and coping strategies among Transwomen of Color”
  • Katelyn Young, Graduate (Psy.D.), 2nd committee member
    • Topic: “Risk of burnout and depression in police officers”
  • Augusta Bowell, Graduate (Psy.D.), 2nd committee member
    • Topic: “Discrimination, mental health, and stress-related growth of sexual minorities”
  • Elena Sandoval, Graduate (Psy.D.), 2nd committee member
    • Topic: “Emotional suppression as a moderator of depressive symptoms in Latinx young adults”
  • Bree Gidner, Graduate (Psy.D.), 2nd committee member
    • Topic: “Biopsychosocial approach to understand infertility knowledge and risk in young adults”


As a scientist-practitioner, it is my responsibility to help students refine their critical thinking as emerging social scientists.  To this end, my teaching goals aim to create an educational milieu that facilitates the use and interpretation of psychological science by helping stimulate student curiosity in psychological science, arrive at data-driven conclusions regarding biopsychosocial phenomenon, and foster effective communication of psychological science.


My clinical interests are in the area of Clinical Health Psychology (CHP) and Rehabilitation Neuropsychology. I received training in CHP throughout my Ph.D. program and during my pre-doctoral internship at the Southern Arizona VA Health Care System.  As a Postdoctoral Fellow, I saw patients at a local medical rehabilitation hospital. Clinically, I have focused much of my work with members of marginalized communities, including racial/ethnic and LGBTQ+ communities

Psychotherapy: Most of the clinical work I do tends to be brief, focuses on psychosocial adjustment to diseases, neurological injury, and/or targets changing specific health behaviors (e.g., smoking, diabetes, and physical activity).  Moreover, I have had most of my training in acute medical rehabilitation hospitals, a setting which often includes medical patients who struggle with complex medical/neurological conditions and/or are recovering from an acute clinical event (e.g., stroke, heart attack) or surgery.  In terms of psychotherapeutic approach, I consider myself an integrationist, drawing from cognitive-behavioral, mindfulness, and acceptance and commitment therapy techniques.

Assessments: Often, health/rehabilitation psychologists are consulted on a variety of referral questions in medical centers; this requires familiarity and proficiency with a variety of assessments.  As a result, I have had experience with health psychology and neuropsychological assessments.  Examples of the former include: psychological evaluations for spinal cord stimulators, readiness for cross-sex hormones for Transgender people, and psychological assessment for solid organ transplants (e.g., liver, heart, lung).  In terms of the latter, I received training with brief neurocognitive screeners in medical rehabilitation hospitals with patients who have neurodegenerative diseases (e.g., dementia, Alzheimer’s Disease, Multiple Sclerosis) and neurological injuries (e.g., traumatic brain injury, stroke), including medical/financial capacity evaluations.  I also conducted full battery neuropsychological assessments on an outpatient basis.


Board of Directors, Pomona Pride Center (2020-2021)

Member, Interprofessional Health Committee, American Heart Association (AHA) Stroke Council (2020-2022)

Membership Co-Chair, California Latinx Psychological Association (2019-2021)

Faculty Advisor, ULV Division 45 Campus Representative Committee (Fall 2018-Present)

Editorial Board Member

2021-Present Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology
2021-Present Annals of Behavioral Medicine
2021-Present Annals of LGBTQ Public and Population Health


Dr. Garcia’s scholarly work can be found at Google Scholar and ResearchGate.

Educational Background

  • 2006-2010 B.A., California State University, Northridge
  • 2011-2017 Ph.D., University of North Texas, Clinical Health Psychology [APA-Accredited]
  • 2016-2017 Psychology Intern (Behavioral Medicine), Southern Arizona Veteran Affairs Health Care System [APA-Accredited]
  • 2018-2019 Postdoctoral Fellow in Clinical Health/Rehabilitation Neuropsychology, Casa Colina Hospital and Centers for Healthcare



  • García, J.J. (ed). (In production). Heart, Brain and Mental Health Disparities for LGBTQ People of Color. London, UK: Palgrave Macmillan (Springer Nature).
  • Williams, M.J., García, J.J., Warren, K.L, & Cardenas, B. (2021). Interprofessional education activities for students in physician assistant, clinical psychology, and athletic training programs utilizing aspects of team-based and problem-based learning practices. Medical Science Educator
  • Serpas, D.G., * García, J.J., & Arellano-Morales, L. (2020). A path model of racial/ethnic discrimination and cardiovascular disease risk factors in college students of color. American Journal of College Health. 1-5. doi: 10.1080/07448481.2020.1841772
  • García, J.J., Serpas, D.G., * & Torres, Y. * (2020). Taking it to heart: Preliminary investigation on the cardiovascular effects of racial/ethnic microaggressions in Latinx. Social Behavior Research and Practice, 5(1), 3-9. doi: 10.17140/SBRPOJ-5-121
  • García, J.J., & Warren, K.L. (2019). Race/ethnicity matters: Differences in poststroke rehabilitation outcomes. Ethnicity and Disease, 29(4), 1-10. doi:10.18865/ed.29.4.599
  • Alcala, M.*, García, J.J., Majeno, A., * Robles, R., * Cobian, A., * Torres, Y., * & Serpas, D.G.*. (2020). A pilot study using impedance cardiography (ICG) to explore the impact of racial/ethnic microaggressions on the electrical cardiac functioning of Latinx people. Psychosomatic Medicine, 82(6), A1-A225. doi: 10.1097/PSY.0000000000000835
  • García, J.J., Warren, K., Gong, F., Wang, H. (2020). What matters most? Predictors of poststroke functional outcomes from inpatient rehabilitation facilities across the United States. Stroke, 51(Suppl_1). doi: 10.1161/str.51.suppl_1.TP160
  • García, J.J., & Warren, K.L. (2019). Race/ethnicity matters: Differences in poststroke rehabilitation outcomes for communities of color. Stroke, 50(Suppl_1). doi: 10.1161/str.50.suppl1.WP202
  • Ruiz, J.M., Campos, BGarcía, J.J. (2016). Latino physical health: Disparities, paradoxes, and future directions. Journal of Latina/o Psychology4(2), 61-66. doi:
  • Ruiz, J. M., García, J. J., & Prather, C. C. (2016). Cardiovascular disease: Psychological and behavioral factors. In A. E. Wenzel, D. G. Friedman-Wheeler, and E. Flannery- Schroeder (Eds.), The SAGE Encyclopedia of Abnormal and Clinical Psychology. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.
  • Ruiz, J. M., Hamann, H. A., Lewis, S., Prather, C. C., García, J. J., & Santini, N. O. (2014). Racial/ethnic differences in 12-month in-hospital survival and hospital utilization trends: Evidence for a Hispanic survival and recovery advantage. Journal of Latina/o Psychology, 2(2), 92-102. doi: 10.1037/lat0000015
  • Ruiz, J. M., Hamann, H. A., García, J. J., & Craddock Lee, S. J. (2014). The psychology of health: Physical health and the role of culture and behavior in Mexican Americans. In Y. Caldera and E. Lindsey (Eds.), Handbook of Mexican American children and families: Multidisciplinary perspectives. New York, NY: Routledge Press.
  • Laganá, L., & García, J. J. (2013). The mental health impact of computer and internet training on a multi-ethnic sample of community-dwelling older adults: Results from a pilot randomized controlled trial. International Journal of Biomedical Sciences, 9 (3), 135-147. Retrieved from:

Additional Information


After ULV appointment:

  • García, J.J., Williams, M.J., Serpas, D.G., * Zacahula, D., * Abbas, M., *& Torres, Y.* (In press). Measurement invariance of the LGBT People of Color Microaggressions Scale among LGBT Hispanic and non-Hispanic People of Color. Annals of Behavioral Medicine
  • Kijak, M., * Burns, A., * Torres, Y., * Aguilera, B., Scott, D., & García, J.J. (In press). COVID racial bias and COVID preventative behaviors as predictors of Coronavirus anxiety among racial/ethnic LGBTQ. Annals of Behavioral Medicine
  • Alcala, M., * Chavez-Ortiz, I., * Barnes, S., * & García, J.J. (In press). Testing resilient coping as a moderator of intersectional discrimination and substance abuse risk in a sample of LGBTQ PoC. Annals of Behavioral Medicine
  • Aguilera, B., * Chavez-Ortiz, I., * Zacahula, D., * Liu, S., * & García, J.J. (In press). Online sexual racism as a predictor of health outcomes for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer People of Color. Annals of Behavioral Medicine
  • Abbas. M., * Serpas, D.G., * Zacahula, D., * Sandoval, S., * & García, J.J. (2020) Associations of intersectional discrimination, microaggressions, and perceived stroke risk in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, And Queer People of Color. Poster presentation submitted to the 2021 International Stroke Conference of the American Stroke Association, Denver, CO.
  • Garcia, J.J. (2020). Preparing for tomorrow today: Foundation building for a new generation of educational researchers. Invited speaker to the Presidential Session accepted (but canceled due to COVID-19) to the 2020 American Educational Research Association Conference, San Francisco, CA.
  • García, J.J., Williams, M., Alcala, M., * & Tang, J.* (2019). Predictors of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) stigma and positive attitudes in a sample of U.S. Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender People of Color (LGBT PoC). Poster presentation accepted to the 2019 American Public Health Association Conference, Philadelphia, PA.
  • García, J.J. (2019). Personal is professional: Balancing practice and research as a queer Latinx early career psychologist (ECP) in medicine. Symposium accepted to the 2019 American Psychological Association, Chicago, IL.
  • Serpas, D.G., * & García, J.J. (2019). The intersection matters: Differences in body mass index and depressive symptoms among sexual minority PoC. Poster presentation accepted to the 2019 National Multicultural Conference and Summit, Denver, CO.
  • García, J.J., Serpas, D.G., * Cobian, A., * Torres, Y., *Gutierrez, A., * Avelar, E., * Schall, S., * Villapudua, C., * & Alcala, M.* (2019). Taking it to heart: A pilot study on the cardiovascular effects of racial/ethnic microaggressions in Latinx. Poster presentation accepted to the National Multicultural Conference and Summit, Denver, CO.
  • Minero, L., * & García, J.J., (2018). Immigration Q&A session. Symposium accepted to the National Latinx Psychological Association Conference, San Diego, CA.
  • García, J.J., Serpas, D.G., * & Sandoval, K*. (2018). También son familia: A narrative review of cardiovascular risk factors in Latinx LGBT. Poster presentation accepted to the National Latinx Psychological Association Conference, San Diego, CA.
  • García, J.J., Minero, L.P., * Abreu, R. L. * (2018). Latinx Resiliency: Recharging and restoring as trainees, early career professionals, and beyond. Symposium accepted to the National Latinx Psychological Association Conference, San Diego, CA.
  • Hancock-Smith, A.D., Avellar, T.R., Nieto, L., García, J.J., Sersecion, S., Mobley, M., Nakamura, N., Morales, E., & Briano, M. (2018). Mentorship in action: A psychodrama approach to mentorship within the QPOC community. Symposium accepted to the American Psychological Association, San Francisco,

Before ULV appointment (abbreviated list): 

  • García, J.J., Ruiz, J.M., Ahn, C., Allison, M., Smith, T.W., Smyth, J., Taylor, D.J., & Uchino, B.N(2017). Racial/Ethnic differences in subclinical atherosclerosis in the North Texas Heart Study. Society of Behavioral Medicine Conference, San Diego, CA.
  • Ruiz, J.M., García, J.J., Flores, M., Ahn, C., Allison, M., Smith, T.W., Smyth, J., Taylor, D.J., & Uchino, B.N. (2017). Racial/Ethnic differences in progression of subclinical atherosclerosis in the North Texas Heart Study. Society of Behavioral Medicine Conference, San Diego, CA.
  • García, J.J. et al. Voices from both sides: The multicultural journey of educators and students. (2016). American Psychological Association Conference, Denver, CO.
  • García, J.J., Sundaram, S., Oliver, A., Davis, B.L., Fix, R.L.…& Crowell, C. (2016). Grad students talk: A student-led response discussing power and privilege. American Psychological Association Conference, Denver, CO.
  • Ruiz, J. M., Uchino, B. N., García, J.J., Goans, C., Smith, T. W., Smyth, J. M., Taylor, J., Allison, M., & Ahn, C. (2016). Married with children: Are children pro or anti- inflammatory agents? American Psychosomatic Society, San Antonio, TX.
  • García, J.J., Uchino, B. M., Goans, C., Smith, T. W., Smyth, J. M., Taylor, D. J., Allison, M., Ahn, C., & Ruiz, J. M. (2015). Ethnic/racial differences in social support and levels of C-Reactive Proteins in the North Texas Heart Study. Society of Behavioral Medicine Conference, San Antonio, TX.

*indicates student (graduate and/or undergraduate co-authors)

Courses Taught

Undergraduate courses

  • PSY 405: Brain and Behavior
  • PSY 409: Multicultural Psychology
  • PSY 450: Minority Health and Health Disparities

Graduate level (doctoral) courses

  • PSY 603: Psychological Measurement
  • PSY 604: Biological Bases of Behavior
  • PSY 672: Advanced Consultation Skills I
  • PSY 673: Advanced Consultation Skills II